Mobile broadband users to top two billion by 2015

A jump to two billion wireless broadband customers globally by 2015 will lead to a revenue increase of some 2,400 per cent for operators, research firm Analysys Mason has said.

By that time, service revenue will climb to $784 billion (395 billion), partially driven by better wireless tech, devices and pricing packages.

The jump in customer numbers will also be from the spread of wireless broadband through emerging markets. By the end of this year, developing regions will make up about 17 per cent of users, but that will increase to 57 per cent by 2015, the report said. This is mostly because of the difficulty of installing fixed-line broadband in such areas.

The analyst report also said HSPA will remain the leading technology. It will slip from about 88 per cent dominance by the end of this year to just over half by 2015.

"Despite the increasing availability of LTE [long term evolution] and WiMAX, HSPA and HSPA+ will still support 54 per cent of wireless broadband users by the end of 2015," said Dr Mark Heath, co-author of the report.

WiMAX will face trouble, however. Alastair Brydon, the report's other co-author, said that most operators will upgrade to LTE rather than switch to WiMAX. The report said that 92 per cent of the predicted 98 million WiMAX users will be in developing countries, as it will be pushed out of developed markets by other technologies.

LTE, on the other hand, will have a customer base over four times that by 2015, with some 440 million customers.